Your Thursday Briefing – The New York Times
Russian army overtakes Ukraine
Russian forces destroyed a theater in the Ukrainian coastal city of Mariupol, where some 1,000 people had taken refuge yesterday. At least 10 people were killed in shelling in Chernihiv, north of Kyiv, as they waited in line for bread. Russia’s Defense Ministry has denied carrying out the attack on Mariupol. Follow latest updates.
Three weeks after the war in Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a passionate appeal to the US Congress, presenting his nation’s defense as a fight for democracy. As he said, his country’s forces counterattacked near Kyiv and the Russian-occupied city of Kherson, as war-free Russian troops continued their efforts to encircle major cities.
Responding to Zelensky, President Biden said the US would send an additional $800 million in security aid to Ukraine, including anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles. Biden has intensified his rhetoric about Russia’s leader, calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal”. But he did not agree to more direct military intervention, including imposing a no-fly zone on Ukraine.
Interpreter: As Russia digs in, what is the threat of nuclear war? “It’s not zero,” said one nuclear strategist.
Mass graves identified in Syria
Two mass graves have been found near Damascus, Syria. Thousands of bodies of Syrians killed in detention centers run by the government of Bashar al-Assad are believed to have been held near them during the civil war.
Interviews with four Syrian men who worked at or near secret mass graves over the past several months examined satellite images, which in turn revealed the locations of the two sites. The sites may also contain powerful evidence of war crimes committed by al-Assad’s forces, including systematic torture and killing of captives.
More than 144,000 people have disappeared in government detention centers during Syria’s 11-year civil war. Many of them are presumed dead. The US Treasury Department said last year that at least 14,000 had been put to death, but the actual number is almost certainly much higher.
Worth quoting: “If the issue of disappearances and disappearances is not resolved, there can never be peace in Syria,” said Diab Serih, co-founder of a union of former detainees at Syria’s notorious Saidnaya prison. The families called, they said, “I just want to see a grave so I can put a flower on it.”
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe freed after six years
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian charity worker who was arrested in 2016 at Tehran’s airport while on her way to London, will finally be reunited with her husband and daughter after six years of separation, previously in prison. And then under house arrest.
According to Britain’s foreign secretary, Liz Truss, his release, and that of another British-Iranian national, Anousheh Ashuri, comes after settling a longstanding British debt to Iran that strained relations between the two countries. Was. Ashuri and Zaghari-Ratcliffe arrived in Oxfordshire this morning on a flight from Tehran.
The Zagari-Ratcliffe case has attracted media attention largely due to efforts by her family to publicize it. Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, devoted the past six years to public advocacy for his wife, holding several hunger strikes in front of the Iranian embassy in London.
Blame: Zaghari-Ratcliffe was accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government and was eventually sentenced to five years in prison. Although the then British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, told lawmakers in 2017 that she was “teaching journalism to the people,” her employer, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, said she was on leave at the time of detention.
More than a century after sinking in Antarctic waters, Ernest Shackleton’s famous ship, the Endurance, had just four days left before the icebreaker to return to port in Cape Town.
Even as the deadline to leave the search site drew near, one of the members of the search team, Chad Bonin, remained optimistic. “Every day I would walk on deck and say, ‘Today’s day,'” he said.
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Ukraine in literature
This selection of literature and non-fiction, compiled by the authors and editors at The Times Books desk, can help you understand Ukraine better.
“Your Ad Can Go Here,” by Oksana Zabuzhko. Short stories about Ukrainians facing personal and political inflection points, written by a renowned public intellectual, turn to the surreal and the supernatural.
“Words for War: New Poems from Ukraine,” edited by Oksana Maximchuk and Max Rosokhinsky. The anthology, which focuses on the Crimea and the fighting in the Donbass, includes the works of several Ukrainian poets.
“Absolute Zero” by Artem Cheikh. A memoir by a Ukrainian novelist who fought in the Donbass region in 2015, the book includes perspectives from civilians and their fellow soldiers.
“The Gates of Europe” by Serhi Plokhi. This comprehensive overview of Ukraine, written by the director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, goes back centuries to trace the country’s history under various empires and its fight for independence.
For more, see our list of non-fiction on the history of Ukraine and contemporary fiction and memoir.
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